Coles Express fuel price hike ‘cynical and unjustified’

WA’s peak body for the motor trade industry has slammed the decision of Coles Express to again break with Perth’s fortnightly price cycle and increase the price for ULP by up to 39 cents per litre to 235.9cpl.

MTA Group CEO Stephen Moir said the move was part of a cynical and unjustified business strategy designed to reduce competition and ultimately, monopolize the market.

“This outrageous price hike is another ugly reminder of what life would be like if there wasn’t strong competition in the motor industry,” Mr Moir said.

“Just imagine a fuel future dominated by one or two huge retailers with no real competition – the cost of filling up the family car could increase by 20% overnight, taking $20 or more from the weekly budget.”

“It’s pretty easy to join the dots on how high fuel prices would ultimately benefit the retail giants.”

“Disrupting the well-established cycle causes confusion about when to buy fuel and because petrol is an essential commodity, consumers will buy at higher prices, inevitably creeping up the base price.”

“The conglomerates will then use so-called ‘loyalty’ schemes to drive consumers to make grocery, insurance and other purchases from the arms of their giant octopus to obtain fuel discounts just to keep the household petrol budget at a manageable level.”

“It will then be just a matter of time before fuel retailers without the reach of the giants can’t compete and disappear.”

Mr Moir urged Western Australian motorists to consider the MTA’s advice when buying fuel.

“Fortunately, we still have a reasonably strong group of independently-minded fuel retailers who need the public’s support to stay viable and keep the big few on notice.”

“Our top three tips for Western Australian drivers are:

  1. Vote with your wallets - seek out fuel retailers who don’t engage in ruthless price gouging
  2. On cheaper days, fill your tank and don’t just top it up
  3. Tell good retailers that you chose to buy from them because they do the right thing”